The Publicist. The Paper loyal to Australia First. Number 1, July 1936 [to] Number 60, 1st June 1941. Australian Modernism, 'The Publicist'.
The Publicist. The Paper loyal to Australia First. Number 1, July 1936 [to] Number 60, 1st June 1941
The Publicist. The Paper loyal to Australia First. Number 1, July 1936 [to] Number 60, 1st June 1941
The Publicist. The Paper loyal to Australia First. Number 1, July 1936 [to] Number 60, 1st June 1941
The Publicist. The Paper loyal to Australia First. Number 1, July 1936 [to] Number 60, 1st June 1941
The Publicist. The Paper loyal to Australia First. Number 1, July 1936 [to] Number 60, 1st June 1941
The Publicist. The Paper loyal to Australia First. Number 1, July 1936 [to] Number 60, 1st June 1941

The Publicist. The Paper loyal to Australia First. Number 1, July 1936 [to] Number 60, 1st June 1941

Sydney, 'The Publicist' Publishing Company, 1936 to 1941.

Quarto, a total of 59 numbers (one a double issue), with pagination ranging from 16 to 24 pages each number.

Bound without wrappers in two volumes (contemporary light blue buckram lettered in gilt on the spines and front covers); covers lightly marked and rubbed; pencil annotations throughout; paper slightly tanned; a few trifling marks and signs of use; pencilled provenance note in the first volume; overall, in excellent condition.

A unique run in a presentation binding for the founder and editor of this 'pro-monarchical, pro-fascist, pro-Aboriginal, anti-British, anti-communist and anti-Semitic monthly' ('Australian Dictionary of Biography'). The first volume is inscribed to 'William John Miles, wishing him Many Happy Returns, 27th August, 1941, from The original five supporters of "The Publicist"'. It is also signed by the aforementioned five: S.B. Hooper, C.W. Salier, V. Crowley, Edward Masey, and Percy Reginald 'Inky' Stephensen.

William John Miles (1871-1942) 'retired in 1935 and, with an annual income of about £6000, devoted himself to secularist and chauvinist propaganda. In July he began a monthly magazine, the "Independent Sydney Secularist". Impressed by Percy Stephensen, whom he now employed as "literary adviser" at £5 per week, from July 1936 Miles funded and edited "The Publicist" ... He published Stephensen's "The Foundations of Culture in Australia" (1936) and Xavier Herbert's "Capricornia" (1938). In 1937-38 he financed the Aborigines' Progressive Association, formed by William Ferguson and Jack Patten. The outbreak of World War II curtailed Miles's pro-Axis editorials' (ADB). As a case in point, the issue of 1 September 1939 (two days before Australia entered the war) carries the fifth instalment of a lengthy speech by Hitler to the Reichstag and a short defence of 'Jew-consciousness', as well as more familiar invectives against feminism, taxes, Marxism and the decline of values that still grace our editorial pages today.

Miles died soon after the presentation of this volume, having transferred the editorship to Stephensen. 'In October 1941 Stephensen formed the Australia-First Movement, a political pressure group based on the programme advocated by "The Publicist". Military Intelligence, after failing to have the group banned, used a plot concocted by an agent provocateur in Western Australia to implicate Stephensen. He took over as editor of "The Publicist" in January 1942, but was arrested and interned without trial on 10 March, with fifteen other AFM members, on suspicion of collaboration with the Japanese and of planning sabotage and assassination.

There was uproar in Federal parliament and criticism of the Labor government when it became clear that there was no genuine connexion between the Western Australian "plot" and Stephensen. Yet he was held without trial in various internment camps for the rest of the war. A Commonwealth commission of inquiry found that there were "substantial reasons" for Stephensen's detention, but this opinion was mainly based on pre-war evidence of his disloyalty to Britain and admiration for Germany and Japan. An official war historian, (Sir) Paul Hasluck, wrote that the detentions were the "grossest infringement of individual liberty made during the war"' (ADB). The last issue of 'The Publicist' was Number 69, 1 March 1942.

Item #122429

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